It’s here; Arctic front gusts to 50 mph; Blizzard warnings; Hope for wet Spring 2013?

41F high temp at MSP Airport 3:23pm Friday

50F at Fairmont, Minnesota Friday PM

60s as close as Nebraska and Kansas on January 18th

+5F January temps vs. average so far at MSP Airport

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Arctic Outbreak sweeping through Minnesota this weekend

Arctic front blows through Saturday with gusts over 45 mph

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN

1148 AM CST SAT JAN 19 2013

1130 AM NON-TSTM WND GST MORRIS

01/19/2013 M51 MPH STEVENS MN AWOS

SUSTAINED WIND SPEED OF 43 MPH.

Band of snow showers with frontal passage Saturday evening

Blizzard Warnings up for Red River Valley

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-20F temp plunge in 98 minutes in Fergus Falls Saturday morning

“Coldpocalypse” -10F to -17F likely in the metro Monday & Tuesday morning

-25F to -35F likely in northern Minnesota

42 hours of consecutive sub-zero temps likely in the Twin Cities

(Sunday evening to noon Tuesday)

Cold eases by next Wednesday, but wintery temps hold on next 2 weeks

35F as President Obama is sworn in Monday? Detailed Innauguration weather forecast from Capital Weather gang

Wet spring of 2013? New NOAA outlook favors wet spring for Upper Midwest

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Onward into the Deep Freeze:

I love how Minnesotans react to news of imminent bitter cold in various ways.

This week I’ve heard everything from “Bring it on” or “It’s about time” …to “I love that our winter’s are trending milder.” “Keeps out the riff raff” my dad used to opine.

Yes we seem to love…or at least respect a good arctic outbreak in these parts.

Saturday starts fairly mild… then a window rattling arctic front barrels through Minnesota from north to south. The bitter air advances through northern Minnesota Saturday morning and midday, and temps will crash in the metro by late afternoon and evening. By late Saturday night, there will be no doubt that you live in Minnesota, and it is (still) January.

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40 & 42? Major temp crash & sub-zero run

Talk about a flash freeze, Saturday will feel like falling off the “temperature cliff” in Minnesota. Southern Minnesota may plunge 40 degrees in 18 hours…from near 35 to -5 close to the metro.

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The latest read on the duration of sub-zero air is probably from Sunday evening around 6pm until about noon Tuesday. That’s about a 42 hour stretch of consecutive sub-zero hours give or take. Not bad, even for Minnesota.

Northern Minnesota may drop below zero Saturday afternoon…and not see the zero mark again until Wednesday or Thursday.

Nice.

Cold Wave peaks Monday & Tuesday AM:

Monday & Tuesday should eb the coldest days of this cold wave, and possibly of the winter. The numbers on the map below may be a few degrees conservative…arctic air has a way of beating forecasts.

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I hesitate to say this will be the coldest air of the entire winter…yet.

The longer view for the next 2-3 weeks still indicates plenty of cold, with another shot of arctic air possible around February 1st.

To my somewhat trained eye…it looks like winter is here to stay for a few weeks. I don’t see any “mega-thaws” in sight just yet. This winter is still running above average, but the next 2-3 weeks will pull us closer to average for January and into early February.

Hate the cold? Blame it on “stratospheric warming”

It turns out that changes high in the stratosphere over the polar region are linked to our arctic outbreaks in Minnesota. Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman has some details.

An unusual event playing out high in the atmosphere above the Arctic Circle is setting the stage for what could be weeks upon weeks of frigid cold across wide swaths of the U.S., having already helped to bring cold and snowy weather to parts of Europe.

This phenomenon, known as a “sudden stratospheric warming event,” started on Jan. 6, but is something that is just beginning to have an effect on weather patterns across North America and Europe.

While the physics behind sudden stratospheric warming events are complicated, their implications are not: such events are often harbingers of colder weather in North America and Eurasia. The ongoing event favors colder and possibly stormier weather for as long as four to eight weeks after the event, meaning that after a mild start to the winter, the rest of this month and February could bring the coldest weather of the winter season to parts of the U.S., along with a heightened chance of snow.

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Animation showing the evolution of the stratospheric warming event. The contours show absolute heights and the shading are height anomalies in the middle stratosphere, or about 16 miles above the surface. The height anomalies are a good proxy for temperature anomalies in the stratosphere with red representing high heights or warm temperatures and blue low heights or cold temperatures. You can see at the beginning of the loop a cohesive polar vortex along the coast of Northern Eurasia and then this area of higher heights or warm temperatures rush poleward from Siberia into the polar vortex splitting it into two pieces, one over Eurasia and one over North America. The dramatic rise in heights or temperatures over the Pole is the sudden stratospheric warming. The result is that pieces of the polar vortex move equatorward and with it the associated cold temperatures. Usually something similar occurs in the troposphere in the ensuing weeks.

Credit: AER/Justin Jones via Climate Central

New NOAA CPC outlook favors wetter spring for Minnesota & Upper Midwest:

Looking at the maps, I have a hunch we may trend into a snowier pattern for the second half of winter. NOAA’s CPC seems to agree.

Here’s the latest precip outlook from NOAA released Thursday.

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THE FMA 2013 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FAVORS ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FROM NORTH DAKOTA EASTWARD AND SOUTHEASTWARD ACROSS THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY AND UPPER GREAT LAKES REGION TO ILLINOIS, INDIANA, AND NORTHWESTERN OHIO, AND FOR MUCH OF THE ALASKA PANHANDLE.

This could mean more snow in February & early March…and potentially more rain by late March & April.

It would be a godsend if we can manage a second wet spring in Minnesota for 2013.

Stay warm!

PH

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